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What Is This Strange, Fragile Succulent?

Ask The Plant Expert:

What is the name of this succulent and is it normal to be so fragile?  Thanks, Jerry

Baby Toes Crassula

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What Is This Succulent With A Red Flower?

Ask The Plant Expert:

What is the plant with the red flower? I have 4 identical plant dishes (picture attached) that I bought in this condition. Each contain the same 3 plants, I believe, and I think I’ve identified 2 of the 3 plants in this pot, minus the “jade looking” one that has the red flower on top. Do you know what the “jade-looking one” is really named?

Also, do you think they look over or under watered (or may have another problem)? The soil does smell musty/damp. I think I need to repot them, but should I let them lay out and dry out for a few days or other? I know these are a lot of questions, but if nothing else, can you at least identify and name the jade-looking plant? THANKS!

Over-watered Kalanchoe Photo

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Why Does Over-Watering Kill Plants?

Why Does Over Watering Kill Plants?Ask The Plant Expert:

In the past, I have always started my cuttings in a glass of water, and once they got roots, tried to put them in dirt.  This sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t.

I broke a big chunk off one of my plants when trying to get it to grow the way I wanted it to. So I broke off all the stems, stuck them in some dirt, and have kept the dirt saturated with water. When I say saturated, I mean nearly liquid, there is standing water on top of the soil.

I think, after a week or so, I will start backing off on the water, and I will have a plant.

What I really don’t understand is if plants can grow as cuttings in a glass of water, why does over watering kill plants?  If it is impossible for water to kill a plant, and apparently it is, then there is some other mechanism at work when you over water. – Pete

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Help! My Polyscias House Plant Won’t Stop Rotting

Ask The Plant Expert:

I had a Polyscias for three years, and it’s the most important plant in my home. Six month ago it started to lost some of the leaves began to lose some limbs. When I realized everything had fallen trunk with no branches and the trunk was soft and smelled of alcohol. I cleaned and put sulfur, waited for it to dry and then sealed with beeswax. However it was not good, because the rot has continued to rise. Now I’ve cut to see if I can save what remains of plant and I found this (pictured below). I do not know what to do, if you cut the remaining logs to try to save them or what. I would greatly appreciate your advice, I’m pretty desperate as it is a very beautiful plant, and the rest of the logs seem to be ok, but it also smells like alcohol. Thanks in advance for your attention. – Marina

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Yes, it is best to remove any soft decaying tissue completely from the plant. The smell of alcohol indicates the wood has soured, likely because of oxygen deprivation. This causes anaerobic activity, which creates a build-up of acetic acid. From your photos, it doesn’t look like there is any mulch, but often the soured wood is due to too-much mulch piled up around the base. Be sure not to do this; spread mulch thinly around the base and always allow it to dry between waterings.

If no mulch was used, it could be an over-watering problem. Hold back on watering your plant until the soil is dry to the touch. It may take a while to air out, but smell should go away.

If all else fails, Polyscias is a very easy plant to propagate from cuttings. Simply take a stem of your plant and place it in water. To ensure rooting, apply a rooting hormone easily found at your local garden center.

That is my best guess, but perhaps our readers will have more suggestions.